See More on Facebook

Diplomacy, Economics

The trade saga continues between the US and China

Despite an earlier trade agreement between the United States and China, the trade relationship remains fragile between the world’s two largest economies.


Written by

Updated: June 4, 2018

The US and China reached an agreement in mid-May that many pundits said had averted a trade war.

A delegation led by Vice-Premier Liu He had “positive, pragmatic, constructive and fruitful” with a US team headed by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin which resulted in a joint statement vowing not to be bogged down in a trade war.

China also promised to buy more US goods if the US would halt its tariffs program.

The deal was hailed by pundits and by sectors hit by reciprocal tariffs as cooler heads prevailing and normalcy resuming.

Just weeks prior China had imposed levies on $3 billion worth of US fruits, nuts, pork and wine to protest the Trump administration’s move to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imported from China.

Not quite back to square one

Now, as the two sides sit down to negotiate the deals that would take place across the numerous sectors where the US accuses China of unfair trade practices, more roadblocks have appeared.

In response, China has warned that agreements to buy more American goods will be void if Washington goes ahead with sanctions and other punitive trade actions, according to the Straits Times.

Beijing’s stance, spelt out on Sunday (June 3), came after US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He concluded two days of talks on trade issues here that were overshadowed by the renewed threat of tariffs announced by the White House last week.

In a surprise move, the White House said it would proceed with imposing tariffs on US$50 billion (S$66.9 billion) worth of imported Chinese goods, with the final list to be announced on June 15.

The White House also said it will pursue tighter restrictions on Chinese investments and enhance export controls to protect US technology and intellectual property.

No allies

The United States has also said it would look into tariffs against longtime allies like Canada and countries within the EU.

While the Chinese have said they would not pursue a trade war, Emmanuel Macron of France and Justin Trudeau of Canada explicitly said that the Trump’s administration on tariffs would force both those countries into an all-sides-lose trade war.

The actions of the US have resulted in severe isolation in the G7 meeting in British Columbia, Canada on Friday.

Group of Seven finance ministers ended their annual meeting on Saturday with US allies united in condemning Washington’s protectionism, calling on President Donald Trump to reverse his decision to impose punishing metal tariffs, according to the China Daily.

Announcing the meeting’s close, Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the host government and five others had urged Mnuchin to relay their “unanimous concern and disappointment”.

“We said that we were collectively hoping that he would bring the message back of regret and disappointment at the American actions and concern that they are not constructive,” said Morneau.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire also expressed France’s outrage as the meetings ended.

“I want to make it clear,” Le Maire said, “that it is up to the US administration to make the right decisions to alleviate the situation and ease the difficulties.”

Avoiding trade war “will depend on the decision the (US) administration is ready to take in the next few days and in the next few hours – -I’m not talking about weeks ahead,” he added.

Chinese Response

China has tried to remain cordial as it tries to negotiate the different personalities that the Trump administration can assume.

An official Chinese statement issued after the latest round of talks said that China and the United States achieved positive and concrete progress in the fields of agriculture and energy during the latest round of trade consultations.

But as the Straits Times reported, Chinese media reports framed the lack of concrete outcomes in the latest round of talks with the United States as Beijing’s way of driving home the point that no substantial discussions can take place when the threat of tariffs looms large.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Cod Satrusayang
About the Author: Cod Satrusayang is the Managing Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy, Economics

10 US senators criticise Suu Kyi for representing military’s interest

Suu Kyi is in the Hague defending Myanmar from genocide accusations. Ten US Senators have severely criticized Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi for representing the military’s interest before the International Court of Justice and defending the mass atrocities committed against the Rohingyas and other ethnic minorities. “Representing the Burmese military’s interest before The Hague and defending the mass atrocities committed against the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities would undermine what remaining credibility you have before the international community, including in the US Congress,” said a letter to Suu Kyi issued on December 9. The Senators said a defense of the Burmese military at this high-profile international forum is also an affront to the inclusive, multi-cultural and democratic Burma that she claims to champion. They said when Buddhist nationalism is on the rise in


By Daily Star
December 13, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

India under Modi is moving systematically with a supremacist agenda, says PM Imran

Imran Khan made the comments after India passed a controversial citizenship requirement. Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday that India, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been moving systematically with a Hindu supremacist agenda. The prime minister was referencing the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill passed by India’s upper house amid protests on Wednesday. The bill will let the Indian government grant citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants who entered India from three neighbouring countries before 2015 — but not if they are Muslim. Modi’s government — re-elected in May and under pressure over a slowing economy — says Muslims from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan are excluded from the legislation because they do not face discrimination in those countries. Taking to Twitter, Prime Minister I


By Dawn
December 13, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

China, US in constant touch to resolve trade issues

China and the United States are in constant touch to resolve pending trade and economic issues, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday. The comment came ahead of Sunday’s US deadline for another scheduled round of tariff increases on Chinese imports worth almost $160 billion. If a trade deal is not struck by Sunday, computer monitors and toys will be among the Chinese export items likely to be affected. Gao Feng, a ministry spokesman, said the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council has already worked out tariff exemptions on some soybean, pork and other products shipped from the US — the latest sign of tensions easing in the protracted trade conflict. The US seems to resort to brinkmanship by using a tariff deadline to pressure China in the ongoing trade talks for a phase one, preliminary deal, said Chen Wenling, chief economist at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges


By China Daily
December 13, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

US warns N. Korea against ‘ill-advised’ action

North Korean threats unlikely to succeed in bringing the US to the table. A top US diplomat warned North Korea on Thursday against taking any “ill-advised” action in light of its veiled threats to resume nuclear and long-range missile tests. David Stilwell, US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, made the remark as North Korea has threatened to take a “new way” unless the US offers concessions in their stalled denuclearization negotiations before the end of the year. Washington has urged Pyongyang to stick to its commitment to cease nuclear and long-range missile tests, saying they would be count


By The Korea Herald
December 13, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

Trump urges passage of defense bill with provision against troop drawdown in S. Korea

Trump has previously asked Korea to pay its fair share to keep US troops on the peninsula. US President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged Congress to pass a defense bill containing a provision restricting the drawdown of American troops in South Korea. On Monday, the House and Senate Armed Services Committees agreed on the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, which authorizes funding for the Department of Defense. According to the accompanying conference report, the new bill restricts the use of funds for removing troops from South Korea, an issue that has drawn intense scrutiny amid contentious cost-sharing negotiations between Seoul and Washington.


By The Korea Herald
December 12, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

Aung San Suu Kyi denies genocidal intent on Rohingya

She urges world court to let Myanmar justice system work. Denying that Myanmar had genocidal intent in its treatment of the Rohingya people, its de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday (Dec 11) urged the International Court of Justice in The Hague to let her country’s justice system run its course. “Can there be genocidal intent on the part of a state that actively investigates, prosecutes and punishes soldiers and officers who are accused of wrongdoing?” she asked at the world court, while presenting her opening statement on the second day of public hearings related to Gambia’s lawsuit alleging that Myanmar had breached the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Carefully avoiding the word “Rohingya”, Ms Suu Kyi said Gambia has given “an incomplete and misleading factual picture”. She referred in her half-


By The Straits Times
December 12, 2019